How to Use Poshmark Like a Pro
How to get amazing deals by shopping on Poshmark
GEtting designer or high street brands for a fraction of the price
“I literally have nothing to wear that is appropriate.” I stared into my closet of business suits, silk blouses and heels, and considered the day ahead of me with newborn triplets. Spit up, breast milk, and baby poo don’t go well with tweed. It’s hard to get down in the floor in a pencil skirt. I had NOTHING to wear, no time, and not much money to go buy anything. We were down an income and up a new house, minivan, and 3 infants. I limped along for years on some plain t-shirts, chinos, sneakers, and 1 pair of jeans.
Building a new wardrobe, whether you’ve started a new phase in life, or finally found your personal style, can be daunting and expensive. You can do this at a fraction of the price on Poshmark. I actually finally built a real wardrobe a few years ago when I decided to stop hiding and re-find my personal style, and I couldn’t have done it so quickly without the great deals I’ve found on Poshmark.
In the Stunning Style Wardrobe Guides, I emphasize three really important things about shopping. Number one: NEVER GO INTO DEBT FOR CLOTHES, ETC. It’s just never, ever worth it! Never spend more than you can afford. Set a budget. I have a budget, and I make the most of it, but I stick to it. Number two: shop your closet first. What do you have that is similar? How can you get creative with your current wardrobe to achieve a similar look? Number three: look on consignment sites or shops to find what you want. I do it all. the. time.
There’s nothing wrong with paying full price for items, and there are many things I’m willing to pay full price for because my needs have become so narrow and the item is so perfect for me, but before I hand over my credit card, I do some searching first, and my first stop is always Poshmark. If you’ve seen my unboxing videos in the Society (you can see what those are like here), you know how much I love to shop there. This blog post has been much, much requested, so today I’m sharing my best tips for shopping on Poshmark.
What is Poshmark and how does it work?
Here are the basics. Poshmark is a consignment website where people list their preloved or new clothes, shoes, accessories, etc., for sale. I can’t tell you how many new-with-tags items I’ve bought at a fraction of the cost! All my swimsuits gave up the ghost this summer, and I bought about $800 worth of new-with-tags swim suits on Poshmark and spent about $125. They were brands like Trina Turk and La Blanca.
Each person has a virtual closet and lists the items they want to sell. I’ve sold a few things on eBay, but tend to avoid it because the listing process is so cumbersome, and even worse is figuring out shipping. I’ve had some HUGE disasters where I lost money selling on eBay because I was so wrong about shipping costs. I’m not saying buying or selling on eBay is a bad idea at all. I’ve done both. But in general I prefer the simplicity of Poshmark.
On Poshmark it’s really easy to list the items with your phone, and shipping is always a flat rate of $6.49 for 2-day priority shipping, as long as the package doesn’t weigh more than 5 pounds. If it does weigh more you can pay for an upgraded shipping label. Sometimes that is super annoying, like when you buy a $10 item and pay $6.49 shipping on top of it, and sometimes it’s super fantastic when you buy a large, bulky item that would have cost way more to ship. In the end you’re getting super fast shipping, and it all evens out. I’ve paid more than that for shipping on expensive retail sites and it comes 7-10 business days later.
The buyer always pays shipping unless the seller offers free shipping.
Poshmark automatically withdraws the funds from whatever payment method you set up before you started shopping, so no need to take an additional step like PayPal. One and done. If you have funds in your Poshmark account from selling things, those funds are automatically applied to the purchase FIRST. Any additional will be charged to the card on file.
Some people sell on Poshmark to get rid of their own items, and others treat it like a boutique or business. I find the individuals selling their own stuff to be more flexible on pricing, but the boutique owners are sometimes more responsive and customer service oriented.
Why Shop on Poshmark?
If you’re like me and have champagne taste, it can take a while to save up for that special thing you really want, but shopping preloved means you can often get that thing sooner because it’s so much less expensive. I’ve gotten Tory Burch bags that were new with tags for more than half off the retail price.
I often go there when I can’t find THE THING I’ve decided I must have. I often invent in my head some item I want, and when the stores aren’t currently selling it, I turn to Poshmark to see if it ever existed. Or maybe I see a picture of it online and decide it must be mine, but it’s from a few years ago. I blame Pinterest for this one.
What do you buy on Poshmark?
Um, just about everything. Clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, bags. Classic wardrobe items are PERFECT to shop for on Poshmark because they never go out of style. So that J. Crew Tippi sweater you love and want in other colors, a classic blazer, your favorite jeans, ankle pants, flats, coats, etc. It can all be had there. What don’t I buy? Intimates. That’s about it.
If you want to build a wardrobe and don’t know where to start, the Stunning Style Wardrobe Guides are curated capsule collections of 30+ pieces, 100 outfits, plus all the shopping links if you need them. You can also use them for inspiration of what to look for on Poshmark! Many members of the Society do just that!
How to search for what you want
Don’t just scroll and troll. Poshmark can be really overwhelming because of the sheer volume of items. On the one hand it’s great to have so many things to choose from. On the other hand it can make you close the app and never look again. When I go on Poshmark, I’m in search of specific items. I never, ever just go and start scrolling through shoes. That’s like drinking from a fire hose.
Filtering is a great way to narrow down your search. You can get great results by narrowing it down, but you can also miss the best items because the seller didn’t label them correctly or add any details. Some items just say, “Shirt.” So helpful. Thanks. But I always start this way. Recently I wanted leopard shoes with a black pattern and leather instead of brown. In the search box I put, “Leopard.” Then I filtered but category: shoes - flats and loafers. Then I filtered by color with black. Then I filtered by my size. Any time there is a specific pattern I’m looking for, like snake skin or stripes, I search this way. Also particular features like leather, zippers or laser cuts.
I also filter by brand if there is a specific one I’m looking for or when there is a brand I tend to love in that category. I’m a huge Tory Burch fan when it comes to bags, and if I’m on the hunt, I will often start out just looking at her brand and see if I find what I want.
If you don’t find what you are looking for that way, start removing filters. Sometimes people put them in the wrong category (especially with coats/jackets and pants), so instead of specifying the flats and loafers, I would include all shoes. Not everyone thinks to add in details like color, so the next filter I would remove is the color.
Another search option if you don’t have a specific parameter that isn’t filterable, like pattern, is to skip that part, go straight to your category, like sweaters, then add the other filters like color, etc. If you are searching for a tertiary color like burgundy, turquoise, teal, coral, etc., choose both colors they are made from. So when searching for turquoise or teal, I search both blue and green, because depending on the ratios, it can lean more one color or the other, and sometimes it’s in the eye of the beholder.
Poshmark’s search function is somewhat limited, meaning if you search snakeskin, it won’t return results for snake skin. So search by both. Sometimes I just search snake. I’ve also hit the jackpot by searching by misspelled brand names. I’ve gotten some major deals that way because those results aren’t turning up for other people either. Tory Burch could be Tori Burch, Torie Burch, Tory Butch, etc. Get creative.
Don’t always be literal. Once I was looking for a specific cheetah print bag. Then I realized that not everyone would recognize the difference between leopard and cheetah print, so I searched both and got what I wanted. And the one I bought was labeled wrong. Tiger and zebra also get confused.
If you know the name of the item you want, try searching that way. When I wanted that Tory Burch card case, I searched by the name, which is Georgia. Shoes, bags, even sweaters often have names. In shoes you can look inside the shoe where the size is and find the shoe name. My favorite J. Crew sweater is the Tippi. Really experienced and thoughtful sellers label their items that way, but remember that a lot of people won’t think or know to do it, so search with other terms as well.
Similarly you can search by a color name. I’m all heart eyes over the color Galleria Blue by Tory Burch.
Once you find your item, if Poshmark has identified other items like it, they will be listed down below under similar items.
When there is a brand I love, I sometimes just search that brand to see what’s new, and in that case I will filter by newest listing. I love Gorjana jewelry because it’s so perfectly edgy classic, so sometimes I’ll check that if I’m in the mood for something new. Earlier this year I was going to buy some earrings from Nordstrom and pay full retail, but I checked on Poshmark and got the exact same ones for half price, new in the package.
If you have a definite budget, you can also set a price filter.
I occasionally fixate on an item, and will come back and search repeatedly for something, so when I do that I will filter by recently listed to save me from scrolling through all the old stuff.
At times I’ve hit the jackpot by searching something like blue Michael Kors moccasins and had exactly what I want pop up. If that doesn’t work, try the same search terms in Google, and it will often pull up items on Poshmark that the Poshmark search bar didn’t. No one beats Google in their search engine. How could they? It’s their one job.
When I’m searching, I will choose my laptop over my phone because I can see more results at a time, and I can scroll faster. However, once you make it very far down, don’t click on an item to look at it. Just click the heart and keep scrolling. When you have hearted all the items, go to your Likes and look at them. Why? Because on a computer if you click into an item and then come back out, it will bump you way back up the search page. Super annoying, but true.
If you find multiples of the items you like, heart them all, and then in your likes you can look at them more carefully and see the best price and condition.
On your phone if you want to heart an item, just press for a couple of seconds and a box will pop up and you can choose to like it without going into the listing.
If you want to sort your likes by similar items, like you want to see all the red sweaters you liked next to each other, unlike and relike them all and they will be bumped to the top.
Tips for Buying
So, now you know the extent of my fixation on finding exactly what I want! Let’s move on to what to do once you find THE ONE.
Ask lots and lots of questions to be sure it is what you think it is.
Ask for measurements. Most common is shoulder seam to shoulder seam, shoulder seam to hem, armpit to armpit, and waist on a top or jacket. Then for bottoms ask for inseam (crotch to hem), length, waist, hips, front rise and back rise. Then instead of measuring my body to compare, I measure an item I have that is comparable and fits me well. So take a similar jacket and measure that to compare to the jacket you are considering purchasing.
Never assume size medium is your definition of medium. A junior’s medium is different than a misses medium. A medium on an oversized item is different than a medium on a fitted item. And sometimes the manufacturer must have measured a toddler when they created that medium. Size is so relative. There is no standard, so as stated above, always ask for measurements.
Then ask for more pictures if you need them. You can ask the seller to model, but that’s not always possible because it might not fit anymore (and that’s why it’s for sale). I do find this particularly helpful with something like a bag. Sometimes you just have to see it on to realize the proportions. Ask about any flaws, what condition it’s in, wear and tear, etc.
The hardest thing to ask about is color. Color is very much in the eye of the beholder. What I consider true Christmas/Valentine’s Day/Fourth of July red could be something lighter or more muted to another person. In that case I will try Googling the item and looking for the retailer’s picture of the item. Punch-you-in-the-face pink is almost impossible to photograph accurately. Even a shade will come across as a hue because the camera tries to autocorrect. I’ve also photographed colors I’m looking for and added them to my closet. Then I can tag the seller there and show it to them. This is what I mean by turquoise.
I tend to buy brands I wear and know my size and fit. Buying my favorite brands also works because those brands are most likely what I’ll like anyway since I shop those stores regularly. I recently discovered that the Banana Republic Avery straight leg ankle pant in the bistretch (not the wool) is the most flattering option for my pear-shape body type. When I find what I like I buy ALL THE COLORS. Currently the only options in store are black and navy. Done and done. But I wanted the dark denim wash that I had (and sold) in the similar skinny Sloan ankle pant. Poshmark to the rescue! I snatched them up for $12!!
So now you found your item and you know you want it, do you click buy it now? Uh, not usually. If the item is $15 or less, I usually just do that, because most sellers have a rule that unless they will net at least $10, it’s not worth a trip to the post office. And they lose 20% of the sales price. But on everything else, the price is usually negotiable.
There is a Make an Offer button right next to the buy button. I typically offer 15-20% less than listing price, and most sellers go for it. They may not go for it if they have already discounted the item multiple times. Or they may not go for it if they aren’t super convinced they want to part with it. They have the option to counter your offer, and you can counter back.
All offers are binding for 24 hours, so if you make an offer and they accept, it’s yours. Only make an offer if you know you want it. Also, don’t nickel and dime the seller. I you offer $30 on a $50 item (which is too low anyway), and they counter $45, don’t counter $31. Most likely they will ignore you or decline your offer.
Sometimes things are WAY overpriced. If that is the case, I will write a comment on their listing along the lines of, “You have a great closet, and I’m interested in this item. Most other sellers have it listed around the price I just offered. I’d love to be able to work something out. Thanks!” Or I will be honest and say something like, “I love your closet and am interested in this item. I’m sending you an offer based on my budget. I would love to work something out. Thanks for considering it!” And then I submit my offer. No one likes to be lowballed. It’s rude. But I have found that a KIND comment explaining your offer makes a big difference. They don’t always go for it, but sometimes they do. It never hurts to ask NICELY.
Know the real retail price. One seller had priced an item with a 50% markup on the full retail price on an item that was still available in stores. Not sure what she was thinking, but maybe someone who didn’t know better was going to come along and pay it! But not me.
It’s important to know that all comments are forever. They can’t be edited or deleted, so anything you write on a listing is etched in stone. It’s considered very rude to talk numbers in the comments. That’s what the offer button is for.
That said, sometimes people do negotiate in the comments, so before making an offer, I read the comments and see if the seller has mentioned a lower price in the comments below. You’d be surprised how many have. Also read the comments to see if your question has been asked before.
No matter what, always, always, always be kind and polite.
Many sellers offer bundle discounts if you buy more than one item. You also only pay shipping once, so if I find something I like in a seller’s closet, I will look and see if there is anything else I like. There is a bundle button you can keep adding things to your bundle, and Poshmark automatically calculates the discount.
Because of the 20% seller fee, some sellers will offer a lower price if you pay through PayPal. Never, ever do PayPal and purchase off the board because you have absolutely no protection. What if they never send the item? Or the item is wrong or damaged? It can be tempting to save the money, but you could really end up regretting it.
Likewise, I don’t do trades for the same reason. They aren’t sanctioned by Poshmark, and you have no protection. For some reason, the higher priced the item, the more likely people are to ask for trades. Nuh-uh. Don’t do it. Poshmark can also ban you for it.
Here is a brief glossary of acronyms:
NWT new with tags
NWOT new without tags
EUC excellent used condition
GUC good used condition
PP PayPal (and don’t do it)
Buy off season. Just like in stores, no one wants a coat in July. If I’ve had my eye on a coat, in the summer I will make an offer. They are more likely to accept because there isn’t a lot of interest then.
Once your package is delivered, you have 3 days to accept the item as described. If you do nothing, the funds will be released to the seller after 3 days. If you receive it and it looks great, accept as soon as you can so the seller gets their money. It goes with the be nice rule.
What if I hate the thing I bought?
Well, it happens. Accept that you will make mistakes. The thing you bought is too small, the color is all wrong, or it just isn’t what you thought. In general, the answer is too bad. And you have three choices: resell it on Poshmark (also referred to as rePoshing an item), keep it, or donate it.
The only way to return something is if it is damaged, fake, stained, or misrepresented. I bought a wool coat that was COVERED in moth holes. Not one little obscure hole. Moth holes EVERYWHERE. I don’t know how in good conscience that woman put the coat in the box and thought I wouldn’t noticed. Under Accept Order there is an option for filing a complaint. You must provide pictures. If measurements are wrong, the color is WAY off, it’s stained, or it’s a fake, you can submit to Poshmark and they will make a judgment. That’s another reason it’s so important to ask questions. If you assumed a medium would fit you, that’s on you. If they provided the wrong measurements, that’s the seller’s fault.
The judgment will come back one of 3 ways:
No you can’t return it.
Would you be willing to keep it if we refund you $X? (like with that coat. Um, no, I don’t want a moth-eaten coat, even if it’s FREE)
Or send it back. If they tell you you can return it, they will send you a free shipping label to send it back, and you have 2 business days to get it to the post office.
Choose your battles. I recently bought an item that had damage. It was shown in the pictures, but in the pictures it looked like a reflection on the high shine silver instead of the rust that it is. I decided not to pursue it because technically it was pictured, and I shouldn’t have assumed that’s what it was. I didn’t ask enough questions to clarify. The seller wasn’t trying to deceive me. She should have specifically pointed them out, but maybe to her they seemed obvious when to my eye they weren’t. I’ll rePosh that and be sure and point it out.
How do I get started?
Download the app on your phone. When you sign up with my code DANCEME23, you get a $5 credit toward your first purchase, and I get a $5 credit toward my next purchase. It doesn’t work if you sign up for the first time on your computer. Dumb, but true. After you’ve signed up on your phone, you can browse on any device you sign into.
You don’t have to sell to buy. A lot of Poshers have empty closets because they only want to buy.
If you want to check out my Poshmark closet, you can find it here. If you follow me there you’ll know when I add new things.
If you have more questions I haven’t answered, you can ask me in the comments below, and you can check out the Poshmark FAQs.
I’ve gotten some amazing deals on some amazing items on Poshmark. I’ve also gotten some dogs that went straight to the donate pile. It’s sort of a gamble, but it’s also fun. I’ve gotten some of my best items there, and to me it has definitely been a great place to shop.
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